Recommissioning of disused rail lines could reconnect 3 mln people in Germany

Xinhua News Agency | Jul 9, 2020 at 6:00 PM

BERLIN, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The recommissioning of Germany's disused rail lines would reconnect 291 towns and municipalities with a total population of three million people, the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) and the Pro-Rail Alliance said on Thursday.

"By reactivating disused railway lines, we can stop and reverse the decades-long retreat of rail from the land. This is a recipe for success for a better transport mix in the future," said Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance.

The recommissioning of only five routes leading to the country's most densely populated locations alone could already enable over 300,000 German citizens to benefit from the new rail connections, the Pro-Rail Alliance noted.

"If railways are to become the means of transport of the 21st century, then we have to look at the whole country and not just the big cities and conurbations or long-distance transport," stressed Joergen Bosse, chairman of the VDV committee for railway infrastructure.

According to the Pro-Rail Alliance, railway lines with a total length of 933 kilometers for passenger traffic and 364 kilometers for freight traffic were put back into operation between 1994 and 2020. However, over 3,600 kilometers of railway lines for passenger lines remain disused.

"In Germany, about 70 percent of the people live in medium-sized and small towns or in rural areas. For this large majority of the population we need efficient and environmentally friendly rail transport services," said Bosse, stressing that this was "about climate protection but also about the equivalence of living conditions."